Latino parents need to be more aware of their depressed teens (VIDEO)
A parent should never have to bury their child, but sadly that is the case for Martha Corey-Ochoa's family. The 18-year old Latina and former high school Valedictorian from Dobbs Ferry, New York, was set to begin her freshman year of college at Columbia University, when she plunged to her death from her 14th floor dorm room. The bright teen had a history of mental problems and spoke to her parents hours before the ordeal telling them she felt suicidal.
This story shook me up knowing that this young woman hadn't even begun to experience life. Depression has become such a serious matter in Latino teenagers that parents need to take it more seriously. Although it is uncertain what Ochoa was battling with, it represents a cry for help for Latino teens everywhere and parents who need to stop overlooking emotional and mental health problems their kids may have.
As Latinos we find talking about taboo topics like sex, homosexuality, or depression very hard. We were taught to sweep it under the rug and go on with our lives. This is the wrong approach to take since mental health conditions are REAL and need proper treatment if a person is suffering badly. Latino parents NEED to take the Ochoa case and MANY other teen suicide stories to heart.
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Statistically, it's been shown that the rate of suicide attempts within Latina teens has risen over 70 percent more than white girls in the year 2011 ranging from ages 9-12. How crazy is that?! SEVENTY percent! In addition, the National Institutes of Health confirms that first generation Latino youth are more likely to experience Major depression and anxiety disorders compared to other ethnicities. This is because Latino American teens struggle with their ethnicity playing a role in their identity. Plus, it's even more difficult for Latino teens who aren't American born to struggle with assimilating to new customs and maintaining their cultural ideals.
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Ochoa was sadly one of those Latinas who took her own life, for reasons unknown, and won't live to see her full potential. Parents, if your teen tells you they are depressed, I advise you to listen and not take it lightly. Your help and moral support will mean a great deal to them and may just save their life one day.
Have your kids ever experienced depression? How did you handle it?
Image via Martha Corey-Ochoa/facebook